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Claiming Space

Documenting Second-generation Iranian Americans in Los Angeles

Amy Malek

In 2009–2010 I collaborated with four Iranian documentary photographers to document everyday lives of the second-generation Iranian-American community in Los Angeles (LA). This article offers an overview of that project and exhibition, along with a selection of images, and presents interview data that suggests several impacts of place and of representations of Iranians on second generation Iranian-American identity. Youth experiences of geopolitical, community and familial struggles have motivated many in this generation to re-mould the image of ‘LA Persians’ by claiming space in diaspora for themselves and their children, the growing third generation.

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Eszter B. Gantner

The persecution, flight and murder of European Jews in the first half of the twentieth century and the profound social and political transformations that decisively affected European cities in the final decade of the 20th century have radically altered urban 'Jewish landscapes'. New stakeholders and institutions emerged with their own networks, goals and interests, and have constructed, staged and marketed 'Jewish culture' anew. The resultant Jewish spaces are being constituted in an urban space located at the intersection of ethnic representation, collective memory, and drawing on an imagined material culture, which includes architectural, physical and digital spaces (e.g. synagogues, Jewish quarters). This Europe-wide process is closely related to the delicate politics of memory and to discourses on the authenticity of cities. This article analyses how the image of 'Jewishness' plays an increasingly important role in the marketing of historical authenticity that cities and their tourism affiliates are undertaking.

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Relating Muscat to Mombasa

Spatial Tropes in the Kinship Narratives of an Extended Family Network in Oman

Zulfikar Hirji

This study calls for a reintegration of space and relatedness in anthropological theories of social formation. It is based on the examination of spatial tropes in the kinship narratives and discursive practices of an extended Swahili-speaking family network historically located between Oman and coastal East Africa.

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Women and Carnival Space

Gender and Carnival in a North Aegean Island Community

Regina Zervou

This article focuses on gender relations through the performance of carnival rites in a North Aegean island rural community. Based on qualitative research, it approaches the women’s use of public space during carnival and the changes under the influence of women’s emancipation since the 1970s. The percentage of women, especially young girls, participating in carnival rites has risen dramatically over the last decade. However, not all carnival public spaces are equally open to women. The article examines the way women try to impose their presence on the strictly male universe of the carnival space and especially the marketplace, the traditional and timeless core of the carnival rites, where only men can pronounce the obscene carnival language, fruit of the kafeneion male discourse and the reactions of the male community to the novelties brought by feminism into the village.

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Jewish Space Reloaded

An Introduction

Eszter B. Gantner and Jay (Koby) Oppenheim

In 1996 the historian Diana Pinto published her often since quoted and discussed article on ‘A New Jewish Identity for Post-1989 Europe’. She was one of the first Jewish intellectuals to reflect on the fall of the Iron Curtain and the resulting political changes and their possible consequences for Jewish communities in Europe. In her article, she introduced the term ‘Jewish space’ that motivates the focus of this issue, as well as the term ‘voluntarily Jewish’, which describes the construction of identity free of external prescription. Pinto situates Jewish space in the context of the Erinnerungspolitik European democracies engaged in during the 1980s, when Holocaust memorialisation began to assume an institutional form through the establishment of Jewish museums, research institutes and exhibitions.

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Performing the Hyphen

Engaging German-Jewishness at the Jewish Museum Berlin

Jackie Feldman and Anja Peleikis

The Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB) is a dynamic, performative space that negotiates between representing the Jew as an integral part of German history and as ultimate Other. While this tension has been documented through the political history of the museum (Lackmann 2000; Pieper 2006; Young 2000), we focus on the dynamics of guided tours and special events. We claim that guiding and festival events at JMB marginalise Holocaust memory and present an image of Jews of the past that promotes a multicultural vision of present-day Germany. In guiding performances, the identity of the guide as German/Jewish/Muslim is part of the guiding performance, even when not made explicit. By comparing tour performances for various publics, and the 'storytelling rights' granted by the group, we witness how visitors' scripts and expectations interact with the museum's mission that it serve as a place of encounter (Ort der Begegnung). As German-Jewish history at JMB serves primarily as a cosmopolitan template for intercultural relations, strongly affiliated local Jews may not feel a need for the museum. Organised groups of Jews from abroad, however, visit it as part of the Holocaust memorial landscape of Berlin, while many local Jews with weaker affiliations to the Jewish community may find it an attractive venue for performing their more fluid Jewish identities – for themselves and for others.

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Crossing Boundaries, Exploring the Frontier

Recollections of an Intercultural Wanderer

Ullrich Kockel

Taking Park's postulate of a 'marginal man' as its starting point, this essay reviews some of the key ideas and approaches that have underpinned the development of the Anthropological Journal of European Cultures from its inception. It concentrates on a discussion of the concept of 'cultures' - liminal, hybrid or otherwise - in different contexts and from different perspectives - boundaries and frontiers, places and spaces, migrants and memory - before turning towards the question of what and where Europe is, and what anthropology might have to say on it, concluding with reflections on AJEC's past, present and future contribution. An appendix provides details of the first twenty-one volumes of the journal.

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Nicola Bermingham

Philip McDermott (2012), Migrant Languages in the Public Space: A Case Study from Northern Ireland (Münster: LIT), 320 pp., Pb: €29.90, ISBN: 978-3643800992.

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Jewish Space and the Beschneidungsdebatte in Germany

Multiculturalism, Ritual and Cultural Reproduction

Jay (Koby) Oppenheim

The concept of Jewish space, initially conceived by Diana Pinto as a unique European development, marked a critical shift in relations between Jews and non-Jews, the latter embracing a Jewish past as constitutive of their countries' own. The hoped-for European multiculturalism failed to blossom and Jewish space, in Pinto's assessment, has not born the fruit of its potential. To investigate the shortfall of Jewish space, this article examines the 2012 debate on ritual male circumcision in Germany (Beschneidungsdebatte) that drew contemporary Jewish practice into the public eye. Pinto's formulation is premised on a multicultural society that actively works to blunt intolerance, a condition whose fulfilment in contemporary Europe remains incomplete and uneven. Moreover, this attempt to extend the integration of history into memory was stymied by its lack of a living subject. While Jews constitute a long-standing minority population with a unique history in Germany, their success in establishing a shared Jewish space is tied to the broader project of tolerance and integration facing immigrant and minority groups in Western Europe.

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Boundaries and Margins

The Making of the 'Golden Cage'

Eirini Chrysocheri

This article focuses on the Greek community of Alexandria, a socially and territorially bounded Diaspora entity that articulates a sense of connection to place through claims of a historically continuous socio-spatial connection to both Egypt and Greece. Through analyses of visual material collected and produced during fieldwork, I explore the spatial and social boundaries of the community before and after Nasser’s 1952 revolution and highlight discontinuities in the narratives and imaginings of the city articulated by different generations. Studying the creation of new borders, I reveal how restriction to, and isolation within, the ‘golden cage’ of Greek areas is both willingly embraced and a source of frustration. I conclude by outlining how spatial and ideological boundaries overlap and how they are shifted and defended by Greek and non-Greek inhabitants of the city.